Rufus and American Exceptionalism

Satirical piece on how many in the Blue Ridge mountains are celebrating American Exceptionalism since Trump’s election.

By Gary Litchfield

It’s been three years now since this country initiated its ascendancy toward renewed greatness and American Exceptionalism. So the time seems right to report on how many Americans are celebrating in the hamlets and boroughs throughout Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains. More than any time since de Tocqueville, there seems now a need to delve deeper into the heartland seeking the unvarnished implications of e pluribus unum.

American Exceptionalism, Blue Ridge mountains churchIn particular, two recent social events offer insight into the character and culture of a subset of individuals who, with many others, steadfastly support our present leader.

The first was a dinner called to celebrate the anniversary of the President‘s triumphant victory. Guest speakers included the Right Reverend Father Festus Moomaw, a man of lofty principles most every Sunday. Those who know him often swear by him and remind the others that in the turbulent ’60’s the Reverend had been on the front lines in Selma upholding traditional southern values.

As expected, the Reverend received a warm welcome from all. He thanked those assembled, blessed us with a prayer, and then went on to deliver a fiery sermon on the intersection of truth and snake handling… followed by Jew bating, cross burning, anti-Muslim graffiti techniques, and how to blow up an abortion clinic. He was well received and the recipient of many Hallelujahs. Then, after a brief demonstration by Father Festus on how to skin a squirrel with a bayonet, we were invited to a meal of down home southern cooking.

The tables that warm Sunday afternoon were heaped with vittles, enough for everybody. Local favorites such as twice baked biscuits with possum gravy, poke salad, sweet tea, feral cat fricasée, three alarm ground hog chili, past date dumpster donuts, a poached pig, and an unexpected last minute addition of road kill fondue.

Thankfully, this year we resisted the temptation for an all out food fight as occurred on election night. Just in case, however, we kept a pot of pond water handy to rinse off any culinary items that missed their mark. We were dead set against repeating what happened last year when a professor stopped and asked the way to Mr. Jefferson’s university in Charlottesville. As he listened intently to the directions, ‘ol Rufus Moomaw, standing next to the professor, let loose with a spontaneous self-conjured thunderous burp … then another … then a whole series. They’re always fun and great entertainment for everybody and greeted with joyous laughter and applause.

The professor, however, was not amused. Turning and pointing his finger directly at Rufus, he announced in a proper clipped tone, “you, sir, have committed a breach of conduct”. Well, Rufus didn’t cotton none to that. No stranger, especially one who no doubt voted for crooked Hillary, was going to sass a Moomaw, much less Rufus Moomaw.

So, Rufus drew himself up looking tall, his eyes widening as he glared down at the citified sophisticate. A dark tension soon replaced merriment as things took an ominous turn … jaws dropped open … hands inched toward mealtime missiles … there was dead silence. All eyes peered upwards toward Rufus’s set jaw … you could hear a pin drop. One misspoken word could ignite a tinder box of cultural anxieties when suddenly the unpredictable Rufus let go with another series of resounding belches, sharp enough to shatter single pane window glass. Predictably, this resulted in a round of back slappin’, side splittin’, laughter. The folks assembled couldn’t get enough. And so peace was soon restored. Everyone made up and promised not to allow that to happen again “as long as that feriner ain’t sassin’ mah man,” added Rufus’s fiancee, Honey Bee, the future Mrs. Moomaw, as she gathered around her eleven children.

Which brings us to the second social event — the aforementioned nuptials between Rufus and ‘Honey bee.’ She’s the willing mother in the making of some of the eleven children, but not all. It was Honey Bee’s sister, Boob, who bore almost all of the rest. In fact, Boob was originally supposed to marry Rufus, but Boob’s release date from medium security wasn’t scheduled until next spring (the result of a tire slitting incident involving her ex).

The original wedding plan with Boob was that everyone would meet at the Lowered Bar that Saturday night after the tractor pull. But Boob’s arrest ended all that. So, Rufus, once he found out Father Festus intended to bill for his services anyway, despite the unexpected incarceration of Boob, ‘ol Rufus decided to proceed with the wedding as originally planned. Only instead he’d marry Boob’s sister, Honey Bee. Everyone agreed it was for the best, and the professor offered to Skype the event to Boob in Vaporlock, Va, where is located the penitentiary. That way Boob wouldn’t miss her sister’s marriage to her own beloved Rufus. She’d be able to participate in everything save the white lightening toasts which multiplied as the evening progressed and, of course, the blissful consummation that night. That would come later when she got out.

So, it all worked out for the best. And finally, when the anticipated moment of matrimony arrived, Rufus, standing nervously before the assembled celebrants at the Lowered Bar that evening, scratching his rear end, giggling, and glancing out over his shoulder toward his poker buddies, said in response to “do you take this woman,” shuffled around a bit and replied, “ah reckon.”

It’s been said that in a democracy you get what you deserve. Or, as the philosopher of the funny pages noted, “them is us.”

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